Johnny Manziel again has lived up to his nickname of "Johnny Football," helping lift Texas A&M to a hard-fought road victory over Mississippi by using his brains as well as his not-so-brawny legs.
Manziel, who rushed for a season-high 113 yards in the Aggies' 41-38 victory, was at his best in crucial moments. Nothing new for the reigning Heisman Trophy winner.
Manziel led a 75-yard scoring drive in three minutes after the Aggies took possession of the ball trailing, 38-31, with six minutes left, dashing in from six yards for his second rushing touchdown of the game. After getting the ball back with 2:33 left after three Mississippi incompletions, Manziel helped pick up first downs on three consecutive plays: a 14-yard pass to Derel Walker, a 12-yard run and a 13-yard run.
Three rushes later, Texas A&M had a first down and just enough time for Josh Lambo to kick a game-winning field goal of 33 yards.
“Johnny's a beast,” Lambo said of Manziel, who completed 31 of 39 passes for 346 yards. “Week in and week out, we can expect greatness from him. It's so awesome to be part of a team that he gets to lead.”
How tough is Manziel? He was injured when landing awkwardly on his left leg after making a pass on the run during the Aggies' second possession. After crumpling to the ground, he went to the sideline, had a brace put on his left knee and returned for the next possession.
Aside from Manziel's toughness and scrambling ability, Coach Kevin Sumlin said it's mostly about the quarterback's heart.
“The thing that makes him different, and I've said this before, is he's so competitive,” Sumlin said. “He plays on the edge. He only knows one way and that's who he is. There's only one way to do things and if he can't go 100%, then he won't go. I asked him, `Are you sure you can go?' and he said he could. I knew he had to be OK.”
This won't be the last heroics you hear about Manziel. Texas A&M is moving into the heart of its Southeastern Conference schedule and will need Manziel to continue to be Johnny Football, particularly because the Aggies surrender 32 points per game.